Before reviewing this issue, it’s impossible not to spend a moment taking stock of what we’re talking about here. Some comics take on an almost legendary quality, and not for any good reason. “Ultimate Wolverine Vs. Hulk #3” is, at this point, almost 3 years late. There are many people who never expected to see it released at all. And yet, against the odds, here it is: Issue 3 in a 6 part series, written by “Lost” co-creator, Damon Lindelof.
Fans of “Lost” will be aware that on Lindelof’s television show, linear storytelling is passe, and in case you’ve forgotten, the same holds true for this comic. Lindelof takes a bold and confident approach to the structure, especially for a new comics writer, and it’s almost a surprise that it actually works really well, giving the series a unique flavor — although much like early seasons of “Lost,” if you’re hoping to see the story advance far, you can forget it. You get dribs and drabs of new action, and much more filling-in-the-gaps.
Part of the issue shows an oddly crafty Wolverine and a now-smart Hulk discuss the respective “animals” inside them. It’s oddly philosophical and yet, as the “first” meeting of two characters with such history, it’s actually remarkably new territory, and a perfect example of how the Ultimate Universe can actually work to a story’s advantage — it’s too late for this conversation in the real Marvel Universe.
The artwork is by Leinil Yu, and thus it’s on absolutely fine form. Yu’s profile has rocketed since he drew the first two issues of this series, and justifiably so. Lindelof packs the script with memorable images, and Yu hits each one for six. The art’s storytelling and characterization is dead on. “Secret Invasion” may have left you feeling a little burnt out on his art, after issue-on-issue of panels crammed with a million characters, but back at more sensible levels it’s easy to take in what’s good about his artwork.
While there’s a debate here about just how much praise the comics industry should give writers from other media who treat the medium like a hobby, rather than work, it’s very hard to argue against such entertaining results. “Ultimate Wolverine Vs. Hulk” #3 is, almost inexplicably, just as fun today as it would’ve been 3 years ago.